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Dysrhythmia - Test of submission CD (album) cover

TEST OF SUBMISSION

Dysrhythmia

 

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.80 | 6 ratings

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The Pessimist
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Dysrhythmia's music came into my life upon searching up the various projects of the members of controversial band Behold... The Arctopus, a band I enjoy quite a lot; it just so happens as well that I enjoy Dysrhythmia more.

I picked up their album Barriers and Passages a while back in 2010 and was so impressed by that album that I bought Pretest as well. A few months ago I was mooching around my usual record shop in Leeds and I stumbled upon their latest... Having highly rated their other work, I thought I'd give it a shot. 2012 happened to be a great year for music in my opinion, with Car Bomb's excellent album "w^w^^w^w" and The Walking Dark by Phronesis, so I was faithful that Dysrhythmia's output for that year would suffice my tastes as well.

It delivered the sufficient, and much, much more.

This album soon became one of my favourite albums on the technical metal scene and to be quite frank slightly tops Barriers and Passages. Barriers and Passages delivered great music, but it lacked a cohesive quality and a sense of balance. Granted, the band released that record 6 years prior and Jeff Hufnagel has clearly been honing his composition skills since, giving birth to this beauty.

Don't believe anyone when they tell you that this album is carnage, because it really isn't. That could arguably be said for their previous work, but not here. Don't get me wrong, this is angular prog metal at its finest, but this time the jagged technical bits act as a more contextual backdrop to make the beautiful sections sound even more charming and poignant. After all, you cannot appreciate beauty without a bit of chaos to put it into perspective? Well, this album has a lot of beauty and a lot of material to put that beauty into perspective. It almost reflects life in a way... It's tough, it's horrible and it's savage, but that makes you cherish the nice parts and truly appreciate them to their full.

Perhaps I'm reading a little too deeply into it, but that's what I'm getting.

Functional harmony seems to arrive seamlessly out of an abyss of dissonance and unresolved cluster chords where you least expect it to, yet it all feels so natural. You feel like the tune has really developed and in a sense you get taken on a journey that seems longer than the actual piece itself. This cannot be said for the first, second or even twenty-fifth listen for that matter, but you soon start to see form if you dedicate your time to the music, and when you step back to look at it from a distance it's magical. Notable examples of this thing I'm referring to can be found in the last half of the title track, Running Towards the End, the phrygian theme of The Madness of Three and in Like Chameleons, however the other more intense numbers have enough contour and narrative to be emotionally enthralling still.

The musicians are also fascinating. It's clear what I think of Hufnagel's writing ability, but his guitar playing is also great too. I love particularly how he isn't afraid to stay in the middle register where his voicings can really sing. I also like the fact that his tone isn't actually THAT heavy. It's muddy, yes, but with a sort of cleanliness and honesty to it that is more attributed to 60s blues and it's very refreshing to hear. It's also refreshing to hear Colin Marston out of Behold... The Arctopus not using a Warr Guitar and rather a regular Bass Guitar. Clearly he's skilled at both, and it's cliche to say this, but once more really does a good job of rooting the band to the floor and stopping the drums and guitar flying off into the ether. Speaking of the drums, Jeff Eber is phenomenal. He defies a metal cliche by hardly using double bass pedals, and nor does he need to: he is vicious enough with the kit as it is. He manages to maintain such tumultuous parts whilst holding absolute control over his playing, keeping damn good time to boot. Let's not get started on his technical facility either...

Composed well, delivered well and unlike their previous release Barriers and Passages, Test of Submission has a real air of cohesion about it. It feels like an album as opposed to just a few ideas thrown into a blender hoping for the best. I don't think it is a masterpiece as I'm still not convinced that there isn't room for improvement, but this album proves that the trio are almost close to perfecting their craft - IF such a thing as perfection exists of course. 8/10, I'll be getting a lot out of this record for a long time and I recommend all of you do too. Dig deep and you'll find the beauty, and you'll think it's staggering.

The Pessimist | 4/5 |

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